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6 comments

1 HappyWarrior  Apr 27, 2015 9:40:57am

They’re the party for the very wealthy and the very blood thirsty and the bigoted. They offer nothing constructive to the debate.

2 Iwouldprefernotto  Apr 27, 2015 11:24:56am

At least they are consistent.

3 lostlakehiker  Apr 27, 2015 11:36:24am

The article roundly criticizes Republicans for wanting to means-test social security, which, according to the author of that article, would break a sacred trust.

But right now, social security has some means-testing built in, thanks to a bipartisan consensus that reasonably well-off retired persons ought to get less social security than they otherwise would: social security benefits become taxable as outside income rises. This works out to the equivalent of a nearly 40 percent marginal tax rate on social security benefits, until the sliding scale maxes out at having 85 percent of benefits taxed. So if your income is low, you pay no federal income tax on your social security benefits. But as it grows, each extra dollar causes your tax bill to grow for two reasons: first, because the extra dollar itself is taxed, and second, because another dollar of social-security income becomes subject to taxation.

Republicans and Democrats alike must have supported this, because it became law without much controversy.

This sort of means-testing does not break any sacred pledge. It preserves the program by limiting the net out-of-pocket cost to the federal government of benefits. These would be, but for that claw-back, overly generous to the upper-middle class.

4 Thanos  Apr 27, 2015 1:27:13pm

re: #3 lostlakehiker

The article roundly criticizes Republicans for wanting to means-test social security, which, according to the author of that article, would break a sacred trust.

But right now, social security has some means-testing built in, thanks to a bipartisan consensus that reasonably well-off retired persons ought to get less social security than they otherwise would: social security benefits become taxable as outside income rises. This works out to the equivalent of a nearly 40 percent marginal tax rate on social security benefits, until the sliding scale maxes out at having 85 percent of benefits taxed. So if your income is low, you pay no federal income tax on your social security benefits. But as it grows, each extra dollar causes your tax bill to grow for two reasons: first, because the extra dollar itself is taxed, and second, because another dollar of social-security income becomes subject to taxation.

Republicans and Democrats alike must have supported this, because it became law without much controversy.

This sort of means-testing does not break any sacred pledge. It preserves the program by limiting the net out-of-pocket cost to the federal government of benefits. These would be, but for that claw-back, overly generous to the upper-middle class.

I’d submit that it would be better and much more effective to means test tax breaks than it would be to means test SS.

5 EPR-radar  Apr 27, 2015 6:42:53pm

re: #4 Thanos

I’d submit that it would be better and much more effective to means test tax breaks than it would be to means test SS.

Of course that ignores the reason most tax breaks exist in the first place. The purpose of most tax breaks is to give the very wealthy various arcane methods to reduce their tax liability perfectly legally.

The mortgage interest deduction is probably the only tax break in wide use by relatively non-wealthy people.

6 FemNaziBitch  Apr 28, 2015 7:53:40am

They forgot one:


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